If you want to be a successful landlord, your reputation is your greatest asset. Landlords with an excellent reputation attract better tenants and have fewer vacancies. Additionally, having a good reputation allows you to grow your business and increase revenue. However, managing your online reputation can be a challenge. With so much to do running a profitable rental company, it could be easy to leave your online reputation to chance.
The chances are that if you manage properties well, you will gain a solid reputation as a good landlord. Many landlords use property management apps to streamline operations. This generally results in greater tenant satisfaction. After all, many tenants like using mobile apps to organize their finances.
It would be a mistake to leave your reputation to chance. That is why the best landlords are proactive when it comes to managing their online reputation. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you may think.
This article looks at some simple ways to strengthen your reputation as a reliable, trustworthy, and fair landlord.
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What is an online reputation?
Your online reputation is how tenants and prospective tenants perceive you when they search online. As a landlord, your online reputation relates to your website, online reviews, social media posts, and any other information people can find about you online.
You can manage your online reputation by having a user-friendly website and responding diligently to social media comments and online reviews.
Why your reputation matters and how to boost it
If you’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a rental business, you may think that property is your biggest asset. While it’s true that real estate is a tangible asset, your reputation is worth a whole lot more. Rental units that lay empty because the landlord has a poor reputation become a financial liability.
The importance of your reputation as a landlord is evident when you consider the emphasis you place on tenant reputation. For example, you rightly screen tenants to learn about their “reputation.” You get credit reports, background checks, employment references, and feedback from previous landlords. What do you do if their reputation doesn’t meet your criteria? You don’t rent to them of course.
Before applying to rent an apartment, prospective tenants are also screening you. They check out what previous and current tenants say about you online. They read online reviews and check out social media posts. They do this with one purpose—to find out what your reputation is. What happens if you don’t meet their criteria? The answer is obvious.
Managing your online reputation means taking control of how tenants perceive your landlord business. It’s vital to take control because—like it or not—tenants are checking out your reputation.
According to Statista, nearly 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. The survey also showed that 94% of customers would choose a business based on positive reviews. While these figures are for general online business, they reflect what is happening in the rental market.
Here are some of the best ways to manage your online reputation to boost your landlord business.
Monitor and embrace social media
Having a solid online presence on social media is essential to manage your online reputation. People spend most of their time on social media. And if they’ve got something to complain about, they will let the world know on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed. So, monitoring what people are saying about you is vital to your reputation.
While you may shy away from using social media, your tenants are using it whether you are or not. Using social media allows you to manage what is being said about you online. Very often, you can prevent minor tenant issues from snowballing into a major reputation crisis.
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Encourage Google reviews
Online reviews are powerful tools for landlords. If you are already providing an excellent service to your tenants, they will be happy to leave positive reviews. In time, you will build up an incredible four- or five-star rating on Google. Prospective tenants will be able to check out those reviews when they are looking for a new, trustworthy, and reliable landlord.
But what about the possibility of tenants leaving negative reviews or, worse still, fake reviews? Many positive reviews will offset the potential damage from a few negative reviews. In fact, research by Spiegel shows that consumers are more likely to believe a rating between 4.2 and 4.5 stars rather than a perfect five-star reputation.
Respond promptly to all reviews
Online reputation management requires that you respond to all reviews and social media comments—good and bad. Say a tenant tags you in a post, praising you for promptly fixing a leaking faucet. In that case, you can thank them for bringing the matter to your attention.
But what if you get a dreaded negative review? You should address the tenant’s concerns in your reply and offer a solution. Then, it’s essential to follow through and resolve the issue. Since other people can see the review, they will take note of how you handle it. The way you respond to reviews can further enhance your reputation.
Use the latest technology for landlords
The best landlords use innovative technology to boost their reputation. Using online property management software can help streamline your business. This makes it easier to focus on the core of being a landlord—providing an excellent service for tenants.
For example, rent collection apps make it easier for tenants to pay rent regularly. They can pay by credit card, debit card, or ACH bank transfer. Additionally, property management software can facilitate collecting security deposits, managing maintenance requests, and offering tenants flexible payment solutions. Most rental apps also allow landlords to process rental applications and run tenant screening checks.
Other ways to manage your online reputation
Managing your online reputation doesn’t always involve using technology. Social media is the new word-of-mouth advertising. So, anything you can do to become a better landlord will boost your reputation. Your tenants will be happy to tell others about you on social media.
Here are few handy tips on improving your reputation as a landlord:
- Reward loyal tenants—Good tenants who pay rent on time and care for the property are assets. Therefore, it’s a good idea to reward them for their long-standing business. You could send a gift basket for the holidays or a gift voucher for Amazon.
- Offer flexible payments—You can boost your reputation by being flexible with your tenants. For example, some tenants in the gig economy prefer flex rent where they can pay two or three times a month. Or you could offer flexible payment schedules for good tenants who have a temporary financial hardship.
- Resolve issues fast—Always be quick to resolve any issues your tenants have. You could use a property management company or decide to do it yourself. Whatever the case, ensure that disputes and problems aren’t left to fester.
Above all, one of the best ways to have a great online reputation is to work hard to be a respectful landlord. That includes keeping an eye on online review sites and looking for negative trends and working to correct them. A sterling reputation encourages more tenants to apply for the units and ensures those renters are happy, reducing turnover and increasing income. Start paying attention to your online reputation today.
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.